Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yuki Watanabe-Sensei: A Perspective from a Japanese Professor

Yuki Watanabe-Sensei is another professor at The University of Texas at Dallas and teaches classes on both Japanese culture and language of which I have attended some of. Her answers to my questions helped provide the perspective of not only a native Japanese but also someone that had difficulty with playing foreign DVDs from traveling internationally.

Are you familiar with regional lockout or region codes?

Vaguely. When we moved to Germany at the beginning of 2005, I brought my brand new laptop computer with me, which gave me 10 chances to play DVD with different region code. When I got the warning saying this is my last chance to set the region permanently, I stopped playing DVD on my computer.

Do you own DVDs? About how many (approximate)? What genres do you prefer?

Since I am not otaku, I own only about 10 DVD's. Some of them were given from our German friends and have never been viewed due to the region issue. I also have a few from Japan, which I never even tried to play.

Do you own video games? About how many (approximate)? What genres do you prefer?

No, I do not.

Do you import DVDs or video games? About how much of your collection? From what countries?

As I said, I have a few from Japan and Germany.

Have you had trouble getting foreign DVDs or games to play?

Yes, on my previous laptop. I have not even tried to play foreign DVD's on my new computer.

How do you usually get around regional lockout?

I do not get around. Just give up.

What is your general opinion of regional lockout? Should it continue or be removed?

I watch a lot of Japanese drama streaming. If I do not care about ads they force you to watch at the beginning, I can watch pretty much all the drama that aired recently via streaming. Of course you have to put up with lower picture quality and occasional pause due to slow loading. In order to compete with all the streaming venues online, regional lockout should go away. If there are people willing to purchase DVD or games from abroad, the manufacturers should take advantage of them. Especially, I think small production groups will benefit if the lockout is removed. I think the time where producers tried to sell tangible products is pretty much over. However hard you try to protect your copy righted material, there is always a way around it just as the case of region lockout. In my opinion, content producers should try to market the familiarity of their product so people will recognize it and maybe willing to pay for some related merchandize or content that cannot be transmitted via online.

Are there any other comments you would like to share?

Artistic creation may be discouraged if this trend continues since there is no guarantee that you make big profit from your creation. But if you ask what the true goal of artistic creation is, it should not be to make money but to express yourself and share it with other people.

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